Monday, December 18, 2006

Skill free

Last week saw the confirmation of suspicions about Cheney's post-election visit to Saudi Arabia: he was summoned and "read the riot act."
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has warned Vice President Dick Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back the Sunnis if the United States pulls out of Iraq....
The Saudis are naturally concerned that if civil war expands beyond its present state, their Sunni brethren could be decimated in an escalation of hostilities with an Iranian-backed Shia. Nothing surprising about this, really, other than the overt instruction we were given on just who is in charge. But a statement by former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Richard Murphy, struck me as particularly disheartening:
[Iraq is in] everybody's backyard -- Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. And they all have interests, they're all watching each other very closely lest one get an undue advantage over the other. And it's going to take an extraordinarily skillful, wide-ranging regional diplomacy on America's part to cope with that.
If future American interests in the region are now dependent upon this administration's application of "extraordinarily skillful diplomacy" to the problem of Iraq, we can pretty much kiss things good-bye and start working on that oil-free, sustainable society we need to develop anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Saudis have more on their minds than tender feelings for their Sunni brethren. If they do not support them, it gives strength to Al Qaeda's brief against them. On the other hand, if the support the killing of Shia, it riles their on Shia underclass.

7:53 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

I agree that the Saudis have a more strategic concern than simply helping the brothers. It would do them no good for Iraq to become a vast repository of Iranian-backed Shia sentiments, even though that is the likely outcome given the present course. It was one of Hussein's saving graces that he opposed the mullahs in Tehran even more feverishly than did the US and the Saudis. He was a buffer and that buffer is now gone.

7:45 PM  

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